Laws in Christ's Day

Laws in Christ's Day

Scripture: Romans 2:14
Date: 04/05/2014  Lesson: 1
"This week's lesson investigates the various laws that functioned in the community during the time of Christ and the early church."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church, right here in Sacramento, California in the United States of America. Welcome, and we are so thrilled that you have joined us to study together God's Word. What a privilege it is that we can gather from all over the planet and study God's Word and look forward together to his soon return, amen? As most of you know, we have been making our way through the hymnal and I think we've been on two years already and we're only on 95, so we will eventually make it through. Hymn #95 this morning - 'spring has now unwrapped the flowers' - and you are going to recognize the tune to this song. A lot of these we find come from a book of carols so they're Christmas carols and I'm not sure which came first, the Christmas carol or the words to this.

So we're going to sing #95 - 'spring has now unwrapped the flowers'. It comes as a request from Karen in the falkland islands and this is our first request from the falkland islands so welcome - and also from joyce in kenya - #95 - we'll sing all three verses. You know, yesterday I was driving to work and it is springtime and I was driving out to the marysville area and cutting through some of the back roads - it was green and beautiful and the trees were in bloom and I couldn't help but just be thrilled with spring and the words in this song: 'artist without rival' - how true that is - and his artistry is written every single day from sunrise to sundown if you and I are looking for it, amen? Amen. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, thank you so much for being such an awesome creator - from the sunrise to the sunset and everything in between, Lord, we acknowledge you as who you are and our hearts are humbled this morning just because we know that even though you are the creator, you also gave up your son to die for us that we could be restored to you and that is the most amazing - amazing regeneration and birth is what takes place in our hearts every day.

So we thank you, Lord, for your word that we can study together and we can become better people because of who you are. So fill us with your spirit. Please fill Pastor Doug and Lord, just let His Words be Your Words and help us each individually in our spheres of influence, to show others how wonderful you are and that we can hasten your coming, Lord. We just so look forward to the day to meet you face to face and know Your Words and your promises are true and we claim those this morning. I pray these things in your precious name, Jesus, amen.

Our study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you, jolyne and our musicians. Good morning friends. Happy Sabbath. I'd never sung that song before, but it's certainly appropriate.

Spring is sprung. We've just had some beautiful glorious days here in Sacramento. The mystery is whatever happened to winter? We had some of the most beautiful weather from December through February and it was a little cool, but we never really had a winter here. Of course, that's why we're having a drought in California, but it's pretty now. And we're enjoying it.

Happy Sabbath. We're glad that you are studying with us this morning. I want to welcome those who are studying via the internet or satellite or some other broadcast mechanism. We're glad that you've joined us and those who are extended members of the central study group - we are entering, today, into studying a new lesson dealing with Christ and his law and I'll say a word more about that in just a moment but, as always, we have a free offer that's perfect for today. It's one of the Amazing Facts study guides that deals specifically with the law of God and it's called 'written in stone' and if you'd like this it has a great overview of the law of God.

Ask for offer #111 - it's free when you call. That number is 866-study-more - that's the acronym for -788-3966 and when you call we just ask that you look it over, read it, and share it with someone else. Ask for offer #111 and it's, again, called 'written in stone'. We're beginning a new series dealing with Christ and his law and I think that that is such a very important pertinent subject for us to study right now. You hear astonishingly little about the law of God in Christian churches today.

What are the operative words that we hear coming from most pulpits today? Grace, love, faith - you hear very little about law. But if there was no law we would not need Jesus. The reason that we need Christ is because there is sin and sin is the transgression of God's law and even after we are saved from our sins, we still need the law of God. It said, earlier in the lesson, I was reading the introduction again this morning, that if there was no God and if there was no life, it would not be as though the universe was immoral because in order for something to be immoral, it needs to be conflicting with or contradicting some law. The world would be amoral - meaning there is no law and there is no need for law.

You can't break the law - there's nobody to break it. Nothing governs anything, you've just got, maybe, empty space or some lifeless rocks floating around out there. There's no need for law at that point. You can't break a law. Where there is no law, there is no sin.

But where there's life and there's intelligence and there's choices, and there's right and there's wrong, then law needs to be there and penalty for breaking the law. Think about the chaos that we have when the power grid goes down and what it does to traffic without laws to govern. I remember listening to a talk by zig ziglar, who was, of course, a motivational speaker. He was very positive and he said, 'we always think of traffic lights - we call them stop lights' - he said - 'but they're not really just stop lights' - he said - 'there's three colors there and one of them is green.' - He said - 'why don't we call them 'go lights'?' - He said - 'if you don't think they're go lights, wait until all of them stop working and you realize that when they don't work they're stop lights. When they work, they're go lights.

' They help everything keep on going. And so, we think about law that way in the Christian life. We think the law is stopping our freedom or it's restricting us. But, actually, law is what gives us freedom. The Bible calls it the laws of liberty.

You find that not only in psalm - I think verse 45 - you find that mentioned twice in the book of James. It talks about the law of liberty and, because in this world that's been kidnapped by the devil and his forces, his - without law we are enslaved. It's the law that really gives us freedom. People think about the law and they say, 'oh, you know, the law is really putting people in jail.' And we think about the law - oh, the long arm of the law - it got ahold of them, put them in chains and handcuffs. But really, it's the law that keeps you free, you see, because what if there were no laws and there were no jails? Would you feel safe going out on the street? And so it's the law, yes, that does lock some people up - that keeps the rest of us free.

And so, I could go down that road and talk about a lot of different aspects of it - and so it's very important that we talk about the law. People often think, also - they think that Jesus came to do away with the law and they see Christ and the law as polar opposites and they forget that Jesus, actually - because all things that were made were made by him and without him nothing was made that was made. Who is it that really delivers the law? It's the law of Christ. People think that the law of God and the law of Christ are two different laws. Or they think the law of Moses and the law of Jesus are two different laws.

Did Moses dream up the ceremonial law on his own or was it given to him by God? Which God - father or The Son? So the ceremonial law really came from Christ. The moral law of the ten commandments came from Christ. The law of God is Christ's law. Now, we're going to be looking at other laws in the Bible - there are man-made laws, there are traditions, there are civil laws, there are government laws - the Bible is talking about the health laws - and so there's all different kinds of spectrums of law. You know, I wanted to - I really tried - you can try and you let me know what you find out, but I went and I tried to find out, in America, how many laws we actually have.

Did you know - and I think this was just in 2010 - in 2010, ,000 new laws were added to the American code. Those are state and federal laws and all different - there's all different kinds of laws - 40,000 laws. It's amazing that God was able to sum up his will in ten - do you know the Ten Commandments are actually, in Hebrew, it calls it the 'ten words'? But those - in those ten simple statements God was able - that's a miracle by itself. So I tried to find out how many laws do we have in the United States. And I searched - you know, you think you'd find the answer to everything on Google or 'ask.

com' and I looked and I looked and you know what I came up with? Head librarian of the law library of congress - you've heard of the library of congress? Well, there's a specialist who deals with the laws because there are so many laws and there is "at the reference desk we are frequently asked to estimate the number of federal laws in force; however, trying to tally this number is nearly impossible." You just look at all the law books that they've got. Now, why are there so many laws? Have you ever read about some of the goofy laws that different states have? I forget what state it is that says, you're not allowed to put a skunk in your boss' desk - there's actually a law somewhere. Why do you think there is such a law? What was the story behind that? Isn't there, inherent in that law, an understanding that somewhere, some employee became exasperated with his boss and put a - presumably a live skunk in his desk? I don't know, it might have been a dead one, but - and so someone had to make a law that you can't do that. Another state has a law that you can't carry an ice cream cone in your pocket. Now I don't know why but someone - maybe kids were doing that and then they were sitting on public property and staining things? I don't know, but there's some story behind it.

But there's actually a law. Some of the laws are just really dumb, but the more lawless a people becomes, the more laws they will need to govern and control their behavior. And every year our legislatures - and there's a lot of people that work underneath the senate and the congress that are constantly crafting and drafting and refining different laws and corporations are also working with lobbyists to have different laws put through that will make it difficult for their competitors and just all of these sinful tendencies get to where the laws mushroom and explode so that even the best lawyers don't know how many laws there are. They've got to have libraries full of law books and data bases so that they can research how to defend and fight things based on different cases and the courts are backed up because everybody's suing everybody and there's so many laws. God was able to summarize his law in just a few simple terms.

You know that the whole law of God is summed up in one word - what is that one word? Love. If everybody really loved God - first - then we would love our neighbor and if we really loved God, we'd really love our neighbor, you wouldn't need to worry about all - would you put a skunk in your boss' desk if you loved your neighbor? You think about all the different laws. If we really loved each other we wouldn't need all of that. But it's because iniquity abounds and the love of many grows cold. I looked up a definition.

Law is the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and it may enforce by the imposition of penalties. In Greek the word is nomos. In latin, lex. In Hebrew, torah - we've all heard of the torah. All those words mean law - and different kinds of laws - there are traffic laws, tax law, construction law, there's aviation law, there's maritime law.

They've got laws regarding drugs, laws regarding education, laws regarding immigration, contract law, property law - that's just to name a few. They've actually got a division that enforces some of these laws called the atf - do you know what atf stands for? The bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. Now is it just me? But should alcohol and firearms be used in the same sentence? And what do you think? Tobacco and explosives - does that belong together? We've got a bureau for almost everything in the u.s. To cover all the laws. So we're surrounded - we're swimming in legislation and laws to govern behavior because if we cannot be self-governed by love and common sense then it all needs to be codified and all these restrictions need to be written.

So we're going to look at the first section in our lesson dealing with the subject of roman law. Now Christ taught and lived during the time of rome and somebody look up for me acts 18 - we gave out some slips and I don't know who has this one - acts 18:15 - oh you've got your hand up mike? Alright, right here. We'll get you a microphone and in a few moments we'll have acts :29 - Where is that verse? Just wondering - oh, got a microphone over here somewhere? Hold your hand up so he can see it. Okay, you'll be second but I'll - as you all know, I'll talk a little bit - I just want to get queued up here. Alright, Jesus was born during the time of Augustus caesar - octavius caesar - he was known as Augustus caesar and he actually lived - he lived longer but he ruled for about 40 years and during his time he followed, of course, julius caesar - during his time they had what they called the 'pax romana' or the roman peace.

Believe it or not, in spite of the cruelty we think of when you think of the crucifixion of Jesus, compared to the wars that had been raging among the territories that rome occupied, there had been a lot of war. During the time of Augustus there was comparative peace. Rome had a very carefully written system of laws - and I know we would think some of them were barbaric - but they were able to ensure a certain amount of peace. You think about it, if you disobeyed certain roman laws - if you were not a roman citizen, you could be crucified and you were crucified with your offense nailed above your head and on a public road for everyone to see. And if you walked out of your city gates and you saw someone being - dying from crucifixion because they had broken some roman law, you'd be really careful about keeping the law.

You know what one of the cleanest cities in the world is? Singapore. You know what city in the world has the strictest sanitation laws? Singapore. How many of you remember when an American was beaten with rods for spraying graffiti somewhere in singapore? You remember that happened several years ago and America tried to get in and make it stop and singapore said, 'look, he was here, he broke our law. It doesn't matter how much you clamor and how much you protest, he was in our country, he broke our laws.' And they whipped him with a bamboo pole three times, I think. That really - it leaves a welt on you and they thought it was barbaric but they've got the cleanest country.

They've got laws about chewing gum spitting on the street and they enforce them. So, if you want to live in a country that has peace, you can also live in a country where criminals are immediately and swiftly punished. If you live in a country - you know what country has some of the highest murder statistics? The United States. That's right. And do you know where you spend the longest on death row of any country? You can be condemned and sentenced to execution for murder and spend 20 years appealing it.

You can die of old age on death row in the u.s. You can actually, in the u.s., Sue to have a heart transplant because your heart isn't good enough to handle execution. Have you ever heard of that before? In America - only in America. And so we wonder why there's so much lawlessness when the laws seem to be skewed to protect and care for the criminals and not watch out for the victims. So there's a need for law and, you know, when the law is abused or when it's not enforced - but during the time of rome, yes, they were very strict, but there was what they call the 'pax romana'.

There was a great peace - comparative peace - in the country during that time and they swiftly dealt with the rebellion when 900 jews rebelled at masada. Oh, I think that was - I don't know if it was immediately before or immediately after the destruction of the temple, but it was a three-year period of time that the jews took this fortress that herod the great had built up on a mesa - I've been there - and they held off the roman army - and the roman army could have said, 'look, there's 900 jews - we've got wars to fight.' But the roman army said, 'we are not going to tolerate any rebellion within our territory and they sent a whole roman army that built a road out of dirt that reached from the base of the lowest place on earth there by the dead sea, up to the top of this mesa so that they could conquer - when they finally got there the jews all committed suicide. So they spent three years building a road basically for nothing, but the Romans said, 'look, we're not going to do nothing while there is an element of rebellion in our kingdom. They were extremely strict that way. But if you obeyed the laws, they took care of you and they protected their own.

Alright, so - let me read Luke chapter 2, verse 1, "and it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered." - There was a census - "this census first took place while quirinius was governing syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child." Now, when the emperor said everybody needs to go to your home town and be registered, that meant everybody. Did it mean rich or poor? You know you might get a summons to jury duty - you ever get that? I, typically, have to apply and say I need to ask for forgiveness for that because it is very hard, if you're a senior pastor, and there's people you minister - marriages and funerals - and you say, 'I can't, I'm on jury duty.' Or hospital visits - and so, typically, you're able to get off that. But in rome, when you said, 'look, I don't have time.

I can't do this. I can't' - they said, 'everybody had to' - 'pregnant, I can't go. I'm nine months pregnant.' 'Everybody.' And so the roman laws were pretty serious. You had to follow them. For the most part, rome allowed vassal kingdoms to maintain their own customs, but all subjects were expected to obey the imperial and senatorial laws.

Obviously, this included Joseph and mary. So rome would often farm out different fiefdoms - governorships - and they called them Kings, like herod was a king under rome. Kings had Kings under them. You remember reading in the book of Daniel it talks about that - Daniel chapter 6 - that Daniel was three - he was one of the top three of the many different governors that were under darius the King of persia. And Nebuchadnezzar had others that - Babylon had other Kings that sat at his table.

Finally he let jehoichim out of prison - he could sit at his table with the other Kings that sat at Nebuchadnezzar's table and evil merodach's table. Then you read in the book of Esther about king ahasuerus and there was 127 provinces and all these other Kings. That's why when it calls Jesus the King of Kings it means there are no other Kings above him. He is the ultimate king. And so the emperor of rome, he was the King of Kings back then.

And so they had different provincial kingdoms under that and herod was one of them. But everyone had to follow the imperial law of rome. Alright, read for me acts 18:15 and 16, please. Acts 18:15 and 16, "'but if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.' And he drove them from the judgment seat." Alright, right now you can see that here, when they were in asia, Paul and some of his associates, they were brought before the magistrates - the roman magistrates - under roman law and some of the jews and others were accusing them of violating their customs and they said, 'look, what you do with your customs is your business. I don't sit as a governor of rome to judge these matters.

' You know another case where that same issue comes up? If we disfellowship somebody, in our church - or any denomination - and they get upset and they want to sue and they go to the government and they want to sue for damages - because people have tried this before, believe it or not - you know what the court system says? 'We don't deal with ecclesiastical issues. You have church and you have church law and you're upset about your church law. You need to have some mediation and appeal process in your church, but you do not bring your ecclesiastical problems to the civil authorities. We are not going to judge in those matters.' I know because we've heard of people, who, for whatever reason, they were disfellowshipped and they then went to the courts and said, 'I want to sue and get my back tithe returned to me.' And they said, 'look, we're not dealing with that stuff. You gave your money and you got your tax benefit.

You're not getting it back again.' So we even see that same dynamic in our culture where you're going to have the civil law and you're going to have the ecclesiastical law and we have certain rules and laws. We have a church manual in our church and we have our traditions. We come together and say, 'that violates this rule. That violates that rule.' And there's places where they may overlap, but for the most part they're two different things and so you can see that was happening even in Paul's day. If you look in acts 16, verse , "but Paul said to them, 'they have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison.

And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.'" And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans." Now, in rome - and you'll see this comes up two or three times in the book of acts - the Romans had a law that roman citizens actually had different rights from non-roman citizens - and there was a third class and I'm not saying this was a good thing, I'm just saying this is how it was - and that was the slaves. You could beat your slave and the slave could not go protest to the police and say, 'I was unfairly beaten. Now, it was bad for you in the community if you treated your slaves that way and, you know they had certain laws to protect the slaves but you couldn't go - if you were a slave - but if you were a roman citizen, that was the highest level of civil citizenship. If you're an American citizen, are you supposed to have certain rights and privileges that maybe a visiting immigrant may not have. That you can vote and certain things? Now that's changing all the time, but it used to be it meant something.

And that's how it was in rome. You could not beat a roman citizen until they had a fair trial. You could not even bind them until - they were considered innocent until proven guilty. You know, a number of laws that we have in North America - believe it or not - come from both the greco-roman culture and even more than that, the torah or the Jewish law. You start looking at the law of Moses and you'd be amazed at how much of our modern law is addressed in the principles that God gave Moses.

You know, where we've got like first, second, and third degree murder? You can find that even in the mosaic law. There was deliberate murder and there was accidental murder - what we call manslaughter - and there were different provisions for that in the law. And you can see all kinds of laws of our current culture that evaluate motive and you see that originating in the mosaic law. Well, some of that bleeds over from roman law. I mean, do we have congress? The Romans had a senate - and so there's some overlap.

So what had happened is Paul and silas had been arrested because of their preaching and teaching - it was hurting the business of the idol makers because they said it was hurting the sales of these statues of diana and they were thrown in jail and they were beaten and it was all politically driven by the unions - believe it or not - there was an idol-making union in ephesus and they did all this and then Paul and silas are praying at night, there's an earthquake, and all the prisoners' doors are opened. The jailer is about to kill himself and Paul says 'do yourself no harm, we're all still here.' And he comes and he falls down before Paul and silas and he says, 'what do I have to do to be saved? Your God is so powerful. I mean, you prayed. You sang after we mistreated you in your shackles and the stocks on your feet were miraculously broken and opened and tell me about your God.' And so Paul preaches to him. The guy washes their wounds.

He (Paul) baptizes them. The next morning the magistrates find out these guys were roman and they say, 'tell them they're free to go.' Paul said, 'not on your life. You arrested us and you beat us. We are Romans. We were uncondemned.

You come and you bring us out of jail.' In other words, you need to be seen. You're not going to just send a message and say, 'you're free to go.' And so Paul was, basically, calling them on the carpet. He could have prosecuted them and if it was found out that they had beaten Romans uncondemned then they'd get it from the governor and they can lose their position. See how - they get it from caesar. So you see what's happening here? They're now afraid that they're going to get written up for abusing their power against the roman citizen and they're going to lose their position.

So the Romans were pretty - pretty strong about their law. Alright, take a look, for instance, acts 22:25, "and as they bound him with thongs," - now this is when Paul - you remember, there's a ruckus in the temple. Paul is falsely accused of bringing gentiles in the temple. The Romans helped guard the outside of the temple. They had temple guards on the inside because they didn't want the roman police inside the temple.

They had their own security. And we see that today, you know, you might have the police of an institution out on the streets and you might go to an arena and the arena has their own security that they hire. And - because they may be enforcing different kinds of rules inside - and so Paul was arrested in the temple because there was a mob and they were trying to tear him limb from limb. The Romans realized there was a riot. The Romans came in with their soldiers and their spears and their shields.

They rescued Paul because they didn't want anyone getting executed - slave or roman - untried and they figured, 'we're going to find out what caused this. We're going to tie you up and we're going to beat you.' They actually would - they had permission to interrogate you and they did it by flogging you and they did it until you told them what was going on. So as they bind Paul and they're ready to flog him, Paul says to the centurion who stood by him, 'is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a roman uncondemned?' And when the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander saying, 'take heed what you do. This man is a roman.' Then the commander came to him and he said, 'tell us, are you a roman?' He assumed that because he spoke Hebrew that he was just a Hebrew citizen. He said, 'yes.

The commander answered with a large sum I obtained this citizenship.' You could buy your citizenship, but it cost you something. He said, 'with a large sum I obtained this citizenship.' And Paul said, 'yes, but I was born a citizen.' Where was Paul born? Tarsus. He wasn't born in Jerusalem. And because of his family relations, Paul was born - you know that when someone is maybe even an illegal immigrant and they come to the country and they have a baby in America, does that baby have rights because it's born in America? So, for whatever reason, Paul was born in a roman territory under a place where if you're born there you had the roman rights and he was born roman and they probably didn't carry a plastic card, but he had some kind of certification that said he was registered as a roman citizen and when they heard that they said, 'we weren't even supposed to bind him. And now we're getting ready to beat him.

"Then immediately" - verse 29 - "those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a roman, and because he had bound him." And examined him and the chief captain also was afraid after he knew that he was a roman because he had bound him. Can you see the fear that you would mistreat a roman citizen? This was the nature of what the kind of law that was in the world in that day when Jesus was born. Alright, who has acts 23:29? Over here. Acts 23:29, "whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds." Paul, during this time when he was arrested in the temple, they did end up sending him down to - when Paul - you learn a lot about roman law just through this whole thing. Paul was arrested because of the riot in the temple.

They put him in jail but they kept him free. They had let people visit him. They brought him food. So, in other words, they took care of him. He was given what you would call minimum security house arrest.

But he was in prison. Then 40 jews of the pharisees made a covenant - they said, 'we will not eat or drink until we kill Paul.' And they had this pact and Paul had a nephew - Paul must have had a sister or brother because he had a nephew. His nephew came and told the centurion - first he told Paul and Paul said 'you need to' - told his nephew - 'you need to go tell the captain of the guard.' He told the captain of the guard, 'there's some jews that, when you take Paul to be tried, they're going to jump him and kill him because they've made this covenant.' He said, 'thank you for telling me. Don't tell anyone you told me this.' Then they, at night, got soldiers armed and they transported Paul from Jerusalem, where it was a lot more dangerous, down to caesarea where there was a lot more roman influence in government and - to protect him there - bigger fortress as well. Look at all the trouble that the Romans went through to guard one roman citizen.

I mean, you might have thought they would have just said, 'well, throw him to them. Let them do what they want.' But because he was a roman citizen they went to great expense to protect him. And so, just giving you a little background of what was going on with the roman law, they were very strong in keeping it. Some of what they did and the way they punished people was - seemed brutal, but if you were a roman citizen - now keep that in mind because later in the Bible you're going to read about the citizenship of Christ and Paul is using that mind set when he's sharing those things. Okay, mosaic law and civic law - or the - yeah, the mosaic law of the civic nature.

Alright, someone look up Matthew - someone has Matthew 26:59 through 60 - who has that? Did anyone - right up here? Manjeet, hold your hand up. I don't know if he saw you. We'll get you a microphone. And I'm going to read John :47, "then gathered the chief priests and the pharisees a council, and said, 'what do we? For this man doeth many miracles.'" You'll often hear about the sadducees and the pharisees and scribes - they had a council and the council called the sanhedrin - or sanhedrin - consisted of 71 men that were selected from among the priests, the elders, and rabbis and they presided over - they were presided over by the high priest - it served as the Jerusalem equivalent of the supreme court. And when - there was no higher appeal court than the sanhedrin and they came together in their council - they're the ones who, ultimately, condemned Jesus to crucifixion - and then handed him over to the Romans for crucifixion.

So they gathered together and said, 'what are we going to do for this man does many miracles?' So this is now the civil law. They are within the roman law. Alright, read for us - go ahead - Matthew 26:59, please. "Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council, sought false testimony against Jesus, to put him to death, but found none." Now, at the trial of Jesus - because it happened at night - normally they weren't supposed to meet at night, it was illegal. They were supposed to meet during the day, but they called a special emergency council at night.

Sometimes some questionable things have happened under the pretense of emergency sessions, because not everybody always gets the word and things can be railroaded in those sessions and so they had this emergency meeting and it was, again, the sanhedrin. They came together. They were the ones who were governing the Jewish law. Acts 5:27 - you see this again in the book of acts - "and when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them," - this is when the apostles were brought in and they began to ask them about 'why are you teaching in the name of Jesus?' So they're being tried by the supreme court council.

Now, there was one time, typically, when the sanhedrin - sometimes I've heard it pronounced sanhedrin - when they want to try somebody they could try a person. They could then even temporarily imprison a person. They could whip a person. They could not execute a person without the approval of the Romans. You could not implement the death decree.

And there are certain laws that states enforce and then there are certain laws that are federally enforced. And, you know, there are some laws that states will not enforce but they're federal laws. America, right now, is bipolar when it comes to marijuana. Did you know that? What I mean by that is federally it is against the law. Just - this is not a secret.

You know, you go up to what they call the emerald triangle, which is humbolt county, trinity county, and mendocino county, where we've had some property for 35 years. It is the marijuana capital of North America. They call it the emerald triangle. And when we fly, every now and then I'll bring a guest and we'll fly our little plane up to covelo and if you go in the fall you just look out the window - I say, 'I just want you see something. Look out your window.

' I say, 'you see all those green, dark circles in everybody's backyard?' It's very telling too, because I know where some people live from the air. Folks that you would think would be upstanding citizens - Christians - and you see all those dark green circles in their backyard. They say it's medical. And federal law doesn't know what to do because it's against the law federally but the state law, they're basically winking at it. And what do you do where you've got somewhere like Colorado, where the state law now contradicts the federal law? And so, just, again, I told you, law gets confusing.

So what they would do sometimes is they would pre-empt - they would not take an execution to the state authorities. You remember when they brought mary in - the woman caught in adultery? I sometimes think that may have been mary magdalene - I can't prove it but you can't prove it wasn't. So they catch this woman in adultery - in the temple - John chapter 8, and they said, 'Moses and the law say such should be stoned, but what do you say?' They were ready to stone her. Do you know why? Because they would have stoned her, then they would have run to the Romans and said, 'Jesus pronounced the death sentence on somebody.' Jesus would have been arrested. The problem would have been the roman's and he would have been in trouble.

They knew they couldn't do that. That's why the had to take Jesus to pilate. So, in a big public figure like that, the Romans knew they couldn't' do it. But with stephen - you remember, with stephen they were so outraged they grit their teeth, they shouted, they ran after him, they brought him out, they executed him. They didn't go to the Romans.

Paul was given permission by the council - the sanhedrin - to arrest Christians and to imprison them and some were executed. Do you remember that? And so they were overstepping their authority when they were doing that. He only had really permission - legally he had letters to have them put in jail, but he tells later in his testimony, some were killed. And so that was going beyond the roman law. So you had the civic law there.

Hebrews 10:28, "anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses." There were a number of the ten commandments that violation of those laws - the penalty was death. And so, that was pretty severe. And, of course, if you stole something, was the penalty death? Was it? Come on, you can talk to me. No. You might have to pay back four-fold.

You remember what nicodemus said - I'm sorry - zaccheus said when he came to Jesus? 'If I've taken anything from any man by false accusation, I pay him back four-fold.' He knew what the mosaic law said about that. And when David was confronted with the story, nathan said, 'there's this man that took his poor neighbor's sheep and killed it when he had flocks full of sheep.' Nathan made up this story and told David. And you know what David said? 'That man will pay four-fold.' Why did he say that? That was part of the mosaic law, that if you stole something and it was found with you, you were to pay back four times. That wasn't the roman law. Alright, now to the mosaic law or the ceremonial part of the mosaic law.

Someone look up for me Corinthians 7:19. Who got that one? Hold your hand up. Over here. Alright we'll get you a microphone. You'll be next.

Let me read Leviticus 2, verses through 16, "if you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits to the Lord, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire, grain beaten from full heads. And you shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering. Then the priest shall burn the memorial portion: part of its beaten grain and part of its oil, with all the frankincense, as an offering made by fire to the Lord." As we read on, we find that they had offerings that were to be made of the vine, where they would pour out wine before the Lord. They had offerings that were made of the field.

They had offerings that were made of the livestock. And so they would show that all the bounty and the blessing belonged to the Lord. So these offerings were symbolic. There were laws regarding these ceremonies that were a symbol. What are you supposed to do during the national anthem? Stand.

Where's that written? Do you get arrested if you don't? Is it - are you supposed to put your hand over your heart or if you're military you salute? I went to military school - yeah. But it's something of a ceremonial law that we have in our country. It's terribly frowned upon. I've never seen anybody arrested for sitting. You're going to get a lot of scornful looks and be thought to be a traitor, but this is a ceremonial law, right? See what I'm saying? Alright, read for us 1 Corinthians 7:19.

1 Corinthians 7:19, "circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters." That's a verse you ought to remember and you should probably underline that if you underline in your Bible. It's very important because some people tell us that when Jesus died that the commandments were done away with - that they were nailed to the cross. It tells us that certain laws were nailed to the cross. What laws are no longer an obligation on Christians? Ceremonial laws. The ceremonial laws - did they come before sin or after sin? After sin.

Circumcision - did it come before sin or after sin? It was a covenant - was it given to all people or to a specific group of people? Circumcision was given to Abraham and his descendants, right? It - God didn't say that only people who are circumcised are going to go to heaven. Did God have people in other countries that worshiped him? I don't want to get too graphic here, but Abraham, Noah, methuselah, Enoch, were they circumcised? Were they? So is it a requirement for salvation? No. It was a ceremonial law. That's why Paul said, 'circumcision is nothing. Uncircumcision is nothing.

What matters is keeping the commandments.' So you see, there's a distinction there between the two - between the ceremonial law and the moral law. Alright, if you look in Leviticus 5:11, for instance, "but if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering." Here again, it's going into some of the ceremonial laws and these things were prescribed about how to make their offerings. If you jump to the new testament and look, for instance, in Hebrews 9 - before I read that, who has Deuteronomy 4, verses 13 and 14? Did we give that to somebody? Deuteronomy 4:13-14 - do you have that sylvia? Alright, let's get you a microphone. Hold your hand up so he can see you.

Alright - and I'm going to read Hebrews 9:9-12, "it was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience - concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. But Christ came as high priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." By the way, it says 'most holy place' in the new king James - a lot of versions say 'holy place' - it's a whole different hagion, is the word there - it's an interesting study on that I won't go into, but point being what happened before that was symbolic. Did you catch that? Verse 9, it was symbolic for the present time. The ceremonial laws were what? Symbolic.

The passover was what? Symbolic. Of what? Of Jesus, the passover lamb. The Bible says, 'now Christ is our passover.' This is very important to understand. How many of you have encountered people that say it is mandatory for modern 21st century Christians to be keeping the Jewish feast days? Have you run into that before? Let me see your hands. Yeah, I have.

We get calls periodically and people feel very strongly that we should be keeping the feast days. But I respectfully and firmly disagree with that. I think that when the high priest tore his garments at the trial of Christ - when the veil was ripped in the temple at the crucifixion of Christ - it was showing us that there's a different priesthood and there's a different temple. We now become a spiritual nation of priests. You now are a spiritual temple.

You are living stones in the temple of God, right? We don't sacrifice lambs anymore as Jesus' body was torn, the priest's robes were torn, the veil in the temple was torn, the body of Christ was torn symbolizing now it's not earthly lambs, it's Jesus the lamb of God. So the idea that these symbols - that you would go to the symbol when you have the reality - I try and explain it like this: if you've got a beloved son or daughter that is overseas - on a mission trip or in the military - whatever it is - and you miss them and you put their picture up on the counter and because you miss them and you're sentimental, you pick it up and you kiss it once a day, it's a symbol of your love for them. It's not idolatry, you're just thinking of them. But then they knock at your door because they came home and you fling the door open and you look at them and you say, 'my son, my daughter!' And you run over to the table, you pick up the picture, and you kiss the picture. Does that seem right? So for you to be embracing the symbol when the reality is in front of you, it just doesn't make sense.

For us to be keeping the ceremonial laws when the reality of what it all points to is now there - and, by the way, it's not possible for most of us to go to Jerusalem and keep those feasts the way we're commanded to keep them. The temple's not there because - all of those feasts were connected with sacrifices in the temple. Are there things we can learn from studying the feasts? Yeah. And if a person wants to go through the motions of remembering one of the feasts, that's up to you. I mean, if man's going to regard the day, regard the day to the Lord but don't require others to.

That's what Romans 14 is talking about. If you're going to keep a day, keep a day to the Lord. If you want to celebrate Christmas, celebrate Christmas. Don't tell other people they have to. If you're going to remember the birth of Jesus on that day - but it's not a law that we have to, is it? And so, this is what it's talking about.

So we've got one minute to talk about the moral law. I knew that - I knew that. A lot of other lessons cover this so we'll be getting to that. Alright, the moral law. I want you to notice a distinction here.

Who has Deuteronomy 4? Did I give that to somebody? Sylvia - you go ahead. I want you to read that. Deuteronomy 4:13-14, "so he declared to you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess." Alright, if we're - this is a great place to summarize. I want you to notice - is there a difference between the moral law and the ceremonial law? I got a phone call at our Bible answer program last week and someone said, 'there's no distinction anywhere in the Bible.

There's only one law.' I said, 'I respectfully disagree. The Bible makes very clear distinctions in several places.' Here's one - you notice when it says the Ten Commandments - 'he declared to you his covenant he commanded you to perform the ten commandments.' There's a concise number - Ten Commandments - 'and' - it says - 'the Lord commanded me' - at that time Moses is speaking - 'to teach you statutes and judgments that you might observe them in the land you cross over to possess.' And in there were ceremonial laws and there were health laws and there were civil laws and some of the laws that had to do with family and inheritance and all kinds of other laws. But God made the ten commandments a very clear, distinct law. He spoke it with his voice. He wrote it with his finger.

It was different in the delivery of the law, different in what he wrote it on, different in what it was written with, different in where it was placed - in the middle of the ark in the middle of the temple. So God made a distinction, we should recognize there's a distinction, right? Between the moral ten commandment law and some of these other many laws the rabbis had come up with - about 613 - we're out of time. We do have a free offer I want to remind you about. It's called 'written in stone'. It's a free lesson by Amazing Facts.

I like it also because it's fully illustrated - beautiful pictures inside. As I told you before, I probably never would have learned to read if it wasn't for comic books, so everyone will enjoy this - children will enjoy this and adults. It's a great study on the law of God. We'll send it to you for free. Just call 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #111.

God bless you friends, until we study together again next time. In 3 - 2 - 1 - action! This documentary covers a span from the first coming of Jesus and what was going on in the church up until just before the second coming of Jesus. It shows the great apostasy that crept into the church and, ultimately, the great revival through the great reformation. This is a life and death battle. It's not just something that is happening in hallucinations of a prophet.

Those things are played out in real history. Today we are shooting multiple scenes. A lot of props are going to be in play. Now right over here we have a door that luther will be nailing his 95 theses into. As you can tell, it's not the whole door.

In film, you just cut down to what you're going to see and so this is what we're going to see. And then over here we've got these shields coming together. We're going to be putting in some texture and painting these red. We're lighting, right now, the eucharist and so we're going to go scene by scene - a little piece by piece of what the actual chalice, the bread, the wine. And then after that we're going to fly in the goblet that the woman in Revelation 17 is holding.

She's drinking blood and we'll have the blood dripping down. When putting together a film you have tons of practicals and props that are on your set and you've got to do the research. You've got to find out what was used during that time. John was writing on patmos and everybody thinks he was using a scroll with ink, but he was actually - he would have been using a lead stylus. We try to put those real elements in there without causing any distraction to the audience where they'd be like, 'no! That's not what was used.

' Then you have, like the reformation periods, the renaissance era and the dark ages - all those details - from the types of candles they were using or possibly the types of parchment that they might have been writing on. We had to recreate that kind of stuff. We learned, as we interviewed the historians - because they've really researched a lot of the ancient history and most of us have laymen's knowledge of these things. It really added a lot of valuable insights to the picture that kind of gave it detail and color and brought it to life.

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